This platform has had a profound influence on our field. I hope that everyone will continue to contribute to this platform and replace these high-cost textbooks.
Calculating the actual impact of a resource like this is difficult, because to be accurate you would have to factor in benefits to students, benefits to instructors, relative advantage of the resources to alternatives, and so forth.
To get a general sense of impacts as perceived value of our content, we rely upon reader feedback on the overall quality of each chapter.
To get a general sense of impacts as cost savings, though, we can also look at two different factors: (1) reported course adoptions (for a low-end estimate) and (2) website activity metrics (for a high-end estimate). Actual cost savings will likely fall somewhere between the two.
And finally, to get a sense for the impact that these cost savings have on students, we can calculate effects in terms of food, healthcare, and tuition benefits based on average rates.
Each chapter in our platform has a default end-of-chapter survey to allow readers to provide a quality rating on the chapter. These ratings allow us to see how readers perceive the quality of our content overall.
One extremely conservative way to estimate cost savings to students can be done by calculating textbook adoptions by specific courses over time. This represents the bare minimum of cost savings to students, though the actual amount is likely much higher due to adoptions that are not reported.
The following table provides details for courses that have reported their textbook adoptions to us.
|Institution||Course||Annual Savings||Cumulative Savings|
|BYU||IPT 371: Technology Integration||$22,500||$202,500|
|BYU||IPT 373: Online Learning||$15,000||$75,000|
|BYU||IPT 510: Intro to Writing||$720||$5,760|
|BYU||IPT 520: Foundations of Instructional Technology||$2,000||$14,000|
|BYU||IPT 629: Intro to Research||$1,600||$4,800|
|BYU||IPT 750: Literature Synthesis and Review||$1,200||$6,000|
|SUNY - Cortland||N/A: Tech Integration||$40,000||$200,000|
|U of Louisiana - Monroe||EDFN 5024: Utilization of Instructional Technologies||$3,750||$11,250|
|U of Louisiana - Monroe||EDFN 5028: Design and Development of Instructional Media||$3,750||$11,250|
The limitation of relying solely upon course adoptions is that many courses and informal learners throughout the world may use the resource without reporting their use.
To remedy this, as a simple, broader metric we can count things like PDF downloads and page views and determine the cost savings to learners based upon the current market value of similar commercial products.
To provide a conservative estimate, we will assume the following:
Given the historical activity of the site over the past 39 months, here is the estimated cost impact to learners based upon web activity:
And finally, decontextualized numbers mean little as disconnected from day-to-day impacts on students' lives. For this reason, many studies on effects of open textbooks on students consider how cost savings benefit students' lives in terms of health, wellbeing, grades, course completion, and so forth.
Because our site does not track individual users, we cannot predict cost savings for each user, but we can translate overall cost savings in terms of equivalent student benefits on things like food, healthcare, tuition credits, and so forth.
In this way, we can envision the actual impacts of our students' cost savings by realizing that this equals the following: